Shakespeares Macbeth – Act 2

Act 2, Scene 1:

Characters: Macbeth, Banquo, Macbeth, Fleance

Location: A court within the castle

Time: Around midnight/early morning

Events: Banquo and Macbeth talk around midnight/1am. They talk about the witches  (three weird sisters). Macbeth says that he has not been worrying nor thinking of the witches at all, and stresses the point that he is loyal to Duncan. When Macbeth is left alone, a vision of a bloody dagger comes to him, which is a reference to his ambitions to kill Macbeth.

Quotes: 

Act 1, Scene 2:

Characters: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth

Location: A court within the castle.

Time: Once Macbeth has slain Duncan

Events: Macbeth returns from slaying King Duncan. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth how appalled he is of his actions and the crime he has committed. He speaks of how he thought that he heard a voice speaking to him, and how he believes that he has been cursed as a consequence of his crime. He deviated from the plan and forgot to leave the daggers with the drunken guards, instead, he carried them back to Lady Macbeth with him. Lady Macbeth is ashamed of her husband’s refusal to put the daggers with the guard and smear them with Duncan’s blood to make it appear as if they were the ones guilty of the Kings death.

Quotes: 

Macbeth: “Wake Duncan with thy knocking: I wish thou couldst!” In this quote, Macbeth is saying that he wishes that the knocking that they are hearing in the scene had the power to wake Duncan. I think that he has used the word wake because in those times, it was very much the common belief that God had taken Duncan, and that he was simply asleep in God’s kingdom, hence the use of the word wake instead of perhaps, resurrect. 

Lady Macbeth: “My hands are of your color, but I shame// To wear a heart so white.” In this quote, Macbeth is saying that her hands bear the same amount of blood as Macbeth, yet she would be ashamed to be so weak as he. 

Macbeth: “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood// Clean from my hand? No, this is my hand will rather// The multitudinous seas incarnadine,// Making the green one red.” In this quote, Macbeth is saying that even the great ocean of Neptune could not wash away the blood and the guilt that marks his soul, but instead, he would turn the water red with the blood on his hands and the sins and guilt on his conscience. He is saying that no matter what, he has been tainted and scarred for life and his sins will always be with him. 

Act 2, Scene 3:

Characters: Porter, Macduff, Lenox, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, Donalbain, Malcolm.

Location: A court within the castle

Time: After Macbeth and Lady Macbeth talk about the killing of King Duncan.

Events: After Macbeth enters and is asked by Macduff whether the King is awake, and Macbeth replies unsure but believes he is still asleep, Macduff goes to the Kings chamber to discover himself. With a distressed cry, he returns and announces that the King has died. Malcolm and Donalbain discuss that they are no longer safe and decide to leave the country. Malcolm decides that he will go to South England while Donalabin goes to Ireland.

Quotes: 

Act 2, Scene 4:

Characters: Old Man, Rosse, Macduff

Location: Outside the King’s castle

Time: In the morning

Events: Talk has it between Macduff and Rosse that Malcolm and Donalbain, King Duncan’s two sons, paid and bribed the two guards posted outside King Duncan’s room on the night he was killed to kill him. They also talk about how Macbeth has been named the successor of the throne after Duncan and procedures to make this happen are already underway. 

Quotes:

Old Man: “T’is unnatural,// Even like the deed that’s done. On Tuesday last,// A falcon, towering in her pride of place, Was by a mousing owl hawked at, and killed.” This quote is extremely important as it is a reference to the beliefs of the time period. The Old Man is saying that last Tuesday, majestic and powerful falcon was taken down and killed by a weak owl. At this time, and it is still continued today in films and books, is the belief that the natural world responds to an upcoming tragedy. It is not normal for a weak owl to take down a powerful falcon, which is an example of the natural world acting in accordance to the imminence of the Kings death.

Rosse: And Duncan’s horses, (a thing most strange and certain)//Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race,// Turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out// Contending ‘gainst obedience, as they would make War with mankind. This quote is also very significant as it is another example and reference to the beliefs at the time period. In this quote, Rosse is saying that the Kings horses, a calm and obedient breed and the best of their type, became feral and wild, and ate each other, the complete contrast of their usual nature. This is another example of how the natural world acting in accordance to the imminence of the Kings death, a common belief of the time period.

Macduff: “Lest our old robes sit easier than our new.” In this quote, Macduff is saying that he has doubts in Macbeths rule. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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